June 18, 2024 at 7:42 p.m.

THE LONG VIEW

Class of 2024, with hard work and commitment your dreams and your visions can be made real.
Giovanni Virgiglio, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools
Giovanni Virgiglio, Jr. Superintendent of Schools

By Giovanni Virgiglio, Jr. | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

One of my favorite prayers, the Prayer of Oscar Romero, begins with the line, “It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.” It’s a great point of reflection, especially when we stand on the threshold of a new chapter in our lives. Graduation, of course, is one of those major thresholds, and while we often get caught up in the seeming urgency of things like final grades, college plans and career prospects, it’s only when we pause and take “the long view” that we are able to see our plans in light of a bigger picture, one that stretches far beyond anything we can imagine or foresee.

It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes we have to step away from something we love — the hallways of a familiar school, the comfort of a lifelong friend group, the place we call home — knowing that it’s time for us to move forward in faith and to make room for what’s next.

What is next? I trust we have heard graduation referred to as both an end and a beginning. What if instead we considered it intermission or the first leg of a much grander excursion? The prayer continues: “We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.”

Class of 2024, think about that line for a moment in light of your own life. “We are prophets of a future not our own.” It is at once disquieting and consoling, isn’t it? A reminder that we do not have complete control and that maybe we shouldn’t try so hard imagining we do.

If you were to ask your parents, grandparents, teachers and friends how their realities match up to the plans they laid out on their own graduation days, you’d surely hear about several inevitable detours that led them far from their original goals, only to take them exactly where they needed to be.

At the beginning of this school year, I wrote about the ways our Catholic schools provide you, our beloved students, with a figurative compass, guiding you toward the “True North” that stands at the heart of our faith: justice, compassion, love and understanding. Those compass points will not fail you as you continue your journey into uncharted territory now; they will guide you no matter where the path takes you.

In much the same way, our larger communion of schools works constantly to move toward that same True North. We chart a course using those same key compass points and buoyed by the knowledge that in our unity we are made stronger. Whatever we do, we do it best when we work together to “plant the seeds that one day will grow … water seeds already planted … (and) lay foundations that need further development,” as the prayer suggests.

Those same principles will be so important to you as you leave high school and head into your future. Remember that greatness does not come from simply holding up the status quo, but rather from being willing to take chances. With hard work and commitment your dreams and your visions can be made real, maybe not today or even tomorrow, but one day, down a road whose end you cannot know or see.

God bless you as you cross this threshold and begin the next leg of your journey. You have the compass; you know the way. All that you have learned over the years will see you through whatever is ahead, and rest assured that our prayers will go with you. The long view isn’t always clear or easy, but it is always worth the effort. Be bold, be faithful, be a prophet of a future not your own.

Giovanni Virgiglio, Ed.D., is the Superintendent of Schools for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.


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